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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 15, Issue 5/6, 2005

Kinds of an Ways to Wisdom

Zbigniew Wendland
Pages 111-131

Dialogical Rationality as Cultural Foundation for Civil Universal Society

After acknowledging that the crisis of the present-day-world is in its very essence the crisis of reason, I consider both the logical notion of reason and an odyssey which reason accomplished within the spread of the modern and postmodern Western history. Doing that, I regard reason not as a subjective human power, being a conventional and formal notion which means nothing if it would not be taken in action of great groups of people and in connection with material contents from which the most important are values or sets of values. I indicate two main kinds of hitherto existing rationality as paradigms of acting reason: (1) metaphysical rationality and (2) instrumental rationality. I put on a thesis that, at all contemporary conditionings: social, cultural, political, also philosophical and others, the two paradigms of rationality have exhausted nowadays their creative possibilities. It has come a time which inclines for looking for another kind of rationality better corresponding to the existing, at present, challenges that would fit better to the state of the contemporary philosophical awareness. The instrumental rationality seems to be ambiguous in consequences and, additionally, has an inclination to turn into irrationality. On the other hand, the traditional metaphysical rationality lost its power of being effective because of historical evolution of the philosophy itself. The 20th century has been by many currents of contemporary philosophy, and by many philosophers, announced as post-metaphysical or even antimetaphysical. I am of an opinion that, taking into account many essential threats of further existence of humankind as well as of physical world, the problem of the socalled metaphysics of foundations has lost its importance. All efforts of philosophers, and all reasoning and acting people, should be directed towards shaping a new kind of rationality as a new paradigm which could function within all contemporary existing civilizations. My proposal is to label this new kind of rationality with the term dialogical rationality. And I think that this rationality could be something that would unite peoples, nations, regions, civilizations, cultures, religions, philosophical directions etc., beyond all hitherto existing differences and controversies, and in the name of the most important present values as well as for diminishing, if not annihilating, great threats. The concept of dialogical rationality is discussed on the basis of views belonging to the greatest achievements of contemporary philosophy like philosophy of dialogue, views of Jaspers, Popper, Habermas, representatives of postmodernism, and others.

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